Multiple media reports have expressed how the Pakistan government is blocking Facebook and YouTube for at least two weeks over the “cartoon controversy” associated with May 20 “Draw Muhammad Day,” which is being viewed as an insult to Muslims and to Islam.
R.E.A.L. has been reporting on this “cartoon controversy,” which also included a recent arson attack on a Swedish cartoonist Lars Vilks.
In our posting “Cartoon Contests and Human Dignity,” R.E.A.L. has indicated that our human rights of freedom of expression also include the right and responsibility of human dignity, but such offensive expressions never justify threats and violence. R.E.A.L. also published the comments of Muslims on human rights and dignity on May 20.
The Pakistan Daily Times reports that:
— “The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority has directed all Internet service providers in Pakistan to block Facebook until further orders. These directions have been issued in compliance with the orders of the Information Technology Ministry in view of the decision of the Lahore High Court. Justice Ijaz Ahmad Chaudhry had ordered the PTA to block the social networking website until May 31 across the country for hosting a competition of making caricatures of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). The PTA director submitted that they had blocked the link to the relevant page instead of the entire website.”
Pakistan Dawn reports on protests about the “cartoon controversy”, and the Pakistan government’s decision to further block YouTube web sites over “blasphemous’ material, stating: “Pakistan has blocked the popular video sharing website YouTube indefinitely in a bid to contain ‘blasphemous’ material, officials said on Thursday.”
This is not the first such instance of Pakistan government involvement in the “cartoon controversy.” Two years ago on April 15, 2008, the Pakistan National Assembly passed a resolution to urge the United Nations to seek capital punishment for those drawing cartoons and expressing comments viewed to be “blasphemous.” In the Pakistan Daily Times April 16, 2008 report, it indicated that Pakistan Prime Minister Gilani attended this meeting of the Pakistan National Assembly “moments” after this resolution was passed.
Additional Media Reports: